The following is a transcript of our interview with notorious year 2016. Please note 2016 insisted on smoking indoors during the interview. When reminded that hasn’t been permitted since 2003, 2016 responded “2003? Never heard of him.”
Interviewer: 2016, thank you so much for joining us for this very special interview.
2016: Thank you for having me. What can I say, I love the attention. Though I hope there’s no drama, I’ve had enough of that for one year.
Interviewer: Well, what a year it’s been.
2016: Thank you for saying that. That’s so sweet. It was a lot of work. I’ll say that much. But I think we ended up with something quite memorable, for better or for worse.
Interviewer: For most people, that might be for worse.
2016: I can see why you say that. I can see that. And I don’t disagree. I think art is subjective. Everyone’s a critic. But not many critics can do what we do. Believe me, I’d like to see them try.
Interviewer: We’ve been trying to sit down with you for a while now. I think ever since Harambe…
2016: Ah, yes.
Interviewer: But we haven’t been able to schedule anything with you until now.
2016: It’s the kind of job where you’re always working. Always on the phone, on the computer. I went on vacation for a week in September…or maybe October was it? In Haiti. By the way, beautiful beaches, weather permitting. But yeah, I was checking my email the entire time. It’s not just a day job. It’s a year!
Interviewer: And it’s a year that some are saying just won’t let up. I mean, most years by December, they start to check out a bit, let the holidays take over, most of the work is done and the new year starts taking over. But this year…
2016: Carrie Fischer. Debbie Reynolds. Bada bing. Bada boom. Mother and daughter. It’s never been done before. That’s what I love about it. Never been done before. But that’s why I had to do it. So much of this year for me has been about challenging expectations, defying logic, and questioning the very fabric of our reality.
Interviewer: In other words, “how low can you go.”
2016: In a way, yes.
Interviewer: This seems as good a segway as ever into Trump.
2016: Oh boy. Oh man. I knew it was coming.
Interviewer: Would you say you are personally responsible for Trump’s election?
2016: You know, to be honest, so much happens in a year. From Brexit, to Trump, to that kid at Disney World who got eaten by an alligator…I’m not necessarily behind every news story of the year. C’mon, we have to give the alligator some credit here right? (Laughs at own joke for what seems like exactly too long) But I do take credit for them, yes. Because people attribute them to me. And for any year that’s great publicity. We want to be remembered. So even if I’m not responsible for every occurrence, I definitely am influencing the “something in the air”-ness that makes them possible. Does that make sense?
2016: I felt like you might’ve been getting a little lost there…your eyes diverted.
Interviewer: I was writing it down.
2016: Good. Good. I apologize, sometimes I can go on and on when everyone just wishes I would stop, like… Mariah Carey’s career. I don’t know.
Interviewer: I’m sorry?
2016: It was a joke. It didn’t work. Forget it. Feel free to interrupt should I get off topic. I know we have limited time.
2016’s Publicist: (inaudible)
2016: Oh it’s not until 5:30? Okay. Okay.
Interviewer: What’s at 5:30?
2016: Nothing, forget I said anything. Ahh! Nothing. Nothing. It’s a surprise.
2016: Cough. Beyoncé. Cough.
2016: I’m so glad you brought that up. Yes, 2016 was the year of the iconic Lemonade. So I guess some good things did happen. No need to thank me. But if you need to, you can address gifts to 1738 Seven Seas Lagoon, the swamp at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort where I’ve been living this past year.
Interviewer: How would you describe yourself in three words?
2016: Series of Unfortunate Events. Sorry, that’s four technically. It’s also the title of a great book series I used to love as child. No, three words okay… surreal, self-motivated… lasting.
Interviewer: It’s 2017 now. Surely, your work is done.
2016: Yes and no. (laughter) Yes and no. The thing that I think most people don’t always get about my work is that it has a certain element of transcendence attached to it. Trump, for instance. 2016 is the year he was elected, yes, but now he’s going to start doing stuff. Like… in one move, I’ve effectively left my mark, my signature, on the next four years alone. Who knows, maybe even eight. Not to toot my own trumpet.
Interviewer: Do you have any comments on the situation in Aleppo?
2016: I don’t. I don’t know what that is. Not yet.
Interviewer: Do you have any regrets?
2016: I wish the clown thing could have been bigger. It was hilarious.
Interviewer: You seemed to really want to distance yourself from the last few years. Were you not a fan of your predecessor’s work?
2016: 2015 had a good season of American Horror Story I thought.
Interviewer: Marriage equality in the US.
2016: Yes, and don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see that representation. At the same time, it had a way of almost whitewashing the remaining gay issue.
Interviewer: The gay issue?
2016: Sorry I meant to say, gay issues.
Interviewer: Are you homophobic?
2016: Yes. But I’m also a gay man.
Interviewer: Did you just come out to me?
2016: I’ve never hid who I was from anyone. I’ve always lived as my authentic self. I voted for Bernie. But there are certain things that don’t necessarily have to do with how I do my job. I wanted to be iconic. When I was starting out, I used to worry I’d be like 2011. (cackles) 2011, can you imagine? Pathetic!
Interviewer: Do you have any predictions for 2017?
2016: That’s a good question. I do think Hailee Steinfeld is going to be big.
Interviewer: What advice do you have for the next few years?
2016: You said earlier “how low can you go.” I’d say I identified this early on as my brand, and I sought to play towards that brand with every defining event or moment this year. I’d recommend figuring out what your brand is before deciding what to do, otherwise you’re going to end up splitting yourself in too many directions. I’d personally also love to see some genre work in time. Maybe a syfy influenced year. Who knows.
Interviewer: I heard you actually had suggestions for 2017.
2016: (laughter) I told him to bring David Bowie back from the dead. Just to fuck with people! But I don’t think he’s going to do it. He sort of gave me this look that was like, “Whoa. You’re intense.” I get that a lot. No, but he’s a good kid. I’m looking forward to what he has in store.
Interviewer: Well, 2016, thank you for joining us today. Would you like to tell our readers how they can keep up with you in the next few months?
2016: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure. And yes, I’ll be going on tour this spring so look out for me in select locations on my website. I’m not going to release the when and where just yet, so I could show up anywhere at any time, LIKE THE CLOWN HOLDING A KNIFE BEHIND YOU DON’T TURN AROUND AHHH!!! (Laughter that fades into a satisfied sigh) Too soon? No, this was fun. This was fun.